How to find (and keep) STEM Talent


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STEM jobs (97 occupations that fall into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields) are part of a critical cycle of economic growth. They are vital for national competitiveness, fueling the economy and creating more downstream jobs.

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How to find (and keep) STEM Talent

  1. Howto find(and keep)STEMtalentTim McAward and megan rafteryScience. Technology.Engineering. Mathematics.
  2. 2 | how to find (and keep) stem talenta perfect stormThey may be relatively small in number, but they pull more than their fair share of economic “…the primary driver of theweight. Amid higher unemployment and economic turmoil, we need them now more than ever. future economy and concomitant creation of jobs will be innovation,STEM jobs (97 occupations that fall into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics largely derived from advances infields) are part of a critical cycle of economic growth. They are vital for national competitiveness, science and engineering.”fueling the economy and creating more downstream jobs. National Academies Gathering Storm committeeThat’s the good news. Now for the not-so-good news.By international standards, students in the U.S. rate in the middle of the pack (or lower) withrespect to proficiency in science and mathematics. And, we’re graduating the same proportionof STEM graduates now as we did 20 years ago. When you factor in the growth in STEMdemand, this is creating a serious shortfall of talent that has implications for an increasinglyglobal economy of innovation.There are a number of factors that are inhibiting new entrants to STEM fields and luring existingparticipants away to others. These include significant cultural, gender and attitudinal shifts andlong-held notions that shape who enters (and who stays in) STEM-related educational tracks andcareers. Companies themselves must understand these forces, and be aware of how they maybe contributing to them if they are to be turned around.
  3. 3 | how to find (and keep) stem talentDEMAND IS GROWING EXPONENTIALLY. The skills and experience ofSTEM-qualified workers are now being utilized across a broader range of industries, andthis is only increasing the tight labor market conditions for these critical skill sets.Today, STEM innovation doesn’t exclusively computer-related occupations, with numbers 2. An aging and growing worldwide 5. Heightened security measures: thetake the form of advances in basic science. in this category expected to jump 21.8% from population: demand for new products need for security and security systemsThe reach of product innovation is 2010 to 2020. and medical and scientific advancements technology is on the rise in both theexpanding, extending far beyond traditional will grow rapidly in response to aging public and private sectors.R&D into fields that connect cultures, The demand for greater efficiencies, new population trends. products, and global business growth is 6. Adoption of nanotechnology: the U.S.communities and individuals in new ways. increasing the need for the knowledge, skills 3. Renewed focus on innovation: cost National Science Foundation estimatesToday, there are more routes into and abilities commonly associated with STEM pressures coming out of the global that nanotechnology industries worldwideSTEM-related fields, more ways to apply workers. Advancements in numerous areas recession will force companies to improve will require 2 million workers by to different aspects of life,and greater market demand for these are driving up the demand for core STEM and update product designs and optimizenew applications. competencies including: existing manufacturing processes.From 2000 to 2010, STEM jobs grew at 1. Technology explosion: use of the 4. Conservation and green energy:three times the rate of other fields. And, internet, proliferation of web applications, environmental pressures, internationalthe demand for STEM professionals is only social communities and mobile apps legislation, and the higher costs ofprojected to increase—growing 16.8% from are increasing the demand for more fossil fuels are creating new market2010 to 2020. Demand will be greatest for sophisticated technology. opportunities.
  4. 4 | how to find (and keep) stem talentSTEM BREAKDOWN AND GROWTH PROJECTIONS. Technology (IT/Computer)occupations make up 49% of STEM employment with architecture and engineering; life, physicaland social sciences; and mathematics occupations making up 34%, 15%, and 2% respectively. STEM Occupation breakdownIn the U.S., demand for STEM professionals STEM EMPLOYMENT GROWTH THROUGH 2020 the breakdown of STEM Employmentis expected to increase 16.8% from 2010 to2020—adding nearly 1.3 million new STEM 2010 2020jobs to the workforce. The Bureau of Labor TecStatistics expects the demand will be the 49% 34% Arcgreatest for computer-related occupations, ↑ 16.8% Lifewith new job openings expected to jump Ma21.8% from 2010 to 2020. STEM jobs STEM Occupation breakdown 2% 15% Technology (IT/Computer) 49% 34% Architecture and Engineering Life, Physical and Social Sciences ↑ 21.8% ↑ 10.3% ↑ 15.2% ↑ 16.6% Mathematics Technology architecture & science mathematics (IT/Computer) engineering jobs jobs jobs jobs 2% 15%
  5. 5 | how to find (and keep) stem talentSKILLS IN HIGHEST DEMAND. Computer and IT-relatedskills will continue to increase in demand through the next decade.Out of the 10 fastest growing STEM 5. Network and Computer There are other promising STEM The top four STEM jobs in termsoccupations (through 2020, by numerical Systems Administrators occupations. The following of numerical and percentageincrease), eight are IT/computer-related. 6. Information Security Analysts, occupations are expected to grow growth through 2020 are: Web Developers and Computer more than 25% by 2020: 1. Software Developers, ApplicationsOverall, the fastest growing STEM Network Architects • Biomedical Engineers (61.7% growth) (143,800 new jobs, 27.6% growth)occupations (through 2020) in 7. Computer and Information • Biochemists and Biophysicists 2. Software Developers, Systems Softwareterms of numerical change are: Systems Managers (30.8% growth) (127,200 new jobs, 32.4% growth)1. Software Developers, Applications 8. Civil Engineers • Database Administrators 3. Network and Computer Systems2. Software Developers, Systems Software 9. Computer Programmers (30.6% growth) Administrators (96,600 new3. Computer Systems Analysts 10. Medical Scientists, Except jobs, 27.8% growth) • Actuaries (26.7% growth)4. Computer Support Specialists Epidemiologists 4. Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists (36,400 new jobs, 36.4% growth)
  6. 6 | how to find (and keep) stem talentSTEM jobs are geographically based. Geographyplays a part in where STEM jobs exist. Regions with a strong presence ofSTEM-related employment are often heavily dependent on governmentfunding. Local technology centers, research parks, and research universityclusters also influence the concentration of STEM jobs in a region.The following metropolitan areas have a Although the volume of STEM jobs is still relatively small, the following states havesubstantial volume and concentration of experienced the strongest STEM job growth on a percentage basis from 2001 to 2011:STEM jobs, compared to total employment.STEM jobs in these areas are predicted to Seattle North Dakota (31%)grow by more than 6% in the next five years:1. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA minneapolis2. Baltimore-Towson, MD Wyoming (26%)3. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH boston Alaska (18%)4. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Nevada (19%)5. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX Utah (18%) baltimore washington san francisco6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, san jose MN-WI7. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA atlanta san diego dallas8. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA9. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA houston10. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA11. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, States with the strongest STEM job growth 2001-2011 STEM Opportunity Markets DC-VA-MD-WV
  7. 7 | how to find (and keep) stem talentSTEM jobs are industry baseD. STEM occupations make up morethan half of industry employment in computer systems design and related services;architectural, engineering, and related services; scientific research and developmentservices; software publishing; and computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing.It’s worth noting that even though the STEM workforce concentration in government is 6% overall,the government (local, state, and federal) employs more than 1 million STEM workers. Industries with the highest concentration of STEM jobs Industries with the most STEM jobsIndustries with the highest concentration of STEM jobs Industries with the most STEM jobs# of STEM % of overall # of STEM % of overalljobs (’000s) industry employment jobs (’000s) industry employment1,500 100% 1,500 100%1,200 80% 1,200 80% 900 60% 900 60% 600 40% 600 40% 300 20% 300 20% 0 0% 0 0% Computer Architectural, Scientific Software Computer and Data Communications Navigational, Pharmaceutical Semiconductor Computer Architectural, State Federal Scientific Local Management Management, Offices Software systems design engineering, research publishers peripheral processing, equipment measuring, and and other systems design engineering, government government, research and government of companies scientific, of other publishers and related and related and equipment hosting, and manufacturing electromedical, medicine electronic and related and related civilian (except development and enterprises and technical health services services development manufacturing related and control manufacturing component services services postal service) services consulting practitioners services services instruments manufacturing services manufacturing
  8. 8 | how to find (and keep) stem talentTHE IMPENDING TALENT DROUGHT. The jobs are there,the wages are attractive and high growth indicates strong future prospectsfor STEM-qualified workers. So why isn’t the supply of talent keeping up?There are five key reasons why the supply of • Only about 40% of men with STEM to their overall representation in the Eight key reasons why womenSTEM talent is not keeping up with demand: college degrees work in STEM jobs. U.S. workforce. and select minority groups are • Only 26% of women with STEM degrees – Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics underrepresented in stem fields:1. Defection and attrition work in STEM jobs. each account for 6% of all STEMEven in those areas where STEM graduate 1. Culturally prescribed roles/stereotypes are • Female STEM majors are twice as likely as workers, but 11% and 14%, negatively affecting the performance andnumbers are still strong, diversion of men to work in education or healthcare. respectively, of overall employment. aspirations of women and minoritiesworkers into other fields is significantly • In contrast, the STEM picture is reversed 2. Lack of self-confidence in STEM-impacting supply. STEM students (including 2. Women and minorities for non-Hispanic Asians who make up related educational pursuitsthe highest performing) are diverting into are underrepresented 14% of all STEM workers but only 5% of 3. Limited exposure to STEM fieldsother occupations partly due to their • Almost three out of four STEM jobs (72%) the U.S. workforce. 4. Lack of role models and mentorsbelief that other occupations will better are held by non-Hispanic Whites. leading to feelings of isolationsatisfy their personal work interests • Women fill close to half of all jobs in the Population shifts are translating into 5. Lower interest in STEM fields due toand values. U.S. economy but they hold less than more women and minorities entering the differing value system regarding work• Overall, only one-third of workers with 25% of STEM jobs. workforce. Why is it that these growing 6. Workplace biases make it more a STEM undergraduate degree work • Only half as many non-Hispanic Black or worker populations are so underrepresented difficult to advance in STEM fields in a STEM job. Hispanic workers have STEM jobs relative in STEM fields? 7. Perceived lack of flexibility/work- life balance in STEM fields 8. High costs of STEM education
  9. 9 | how to find (and keep) stem talentTHE IMPENDING TALENT DROUGHT / continued3. Student interest is low • Compared to 2000, the number of demographic, with 25.4% of Architectural/ bachelor’s degree in Business has grown Engineering workers 55 years or older. The first step in addressing theIt is clear that something fundamental shortage of STEM-qualifiedis shifting interest and focus away from 32%, the number of engineering degrees • More than 50% of all Civil, Mechanical workers is for employers toSTEM fields. earned has grown 19%, and there has and Industrial Engineers are over the seriously analyze how they can• The proportion of STEM bachelor’s been a negative growth rate of -14% age of 45. circumvent these issues in their degrees awarded has remained relatively in Computer and Information Sciences 5. Return migration own workplaces. flat for the past 20 years, consistently degrees earned. One in five U.S.-based STEM workers is accounting for approximately 33% of all 4. An aging workforce foreign-born, of which 63% come from Asia. degrees earned. While the aging population of the global Significant economic growth in developing• Only 17.3% of students who are proficient workforce is a growing problem for all countries, particularly throughout Asia, is in mathematics are interested in studying industries, for some STEM-based industries, beginning to offer attractive opportunities and entering a STEM field. this is compounded by a worker profile that is “back home.” Many developed nations have• In the 2008/2009 academic year, there already older than the average. relied upon skilled migration to fill talent were more than two times the number of • Less than one-quarter of the workforce gaps in STEM industries. The relatively strong bachelor’s degrees earned in Visual and (22.2%) is over 55 years of age. In the Life economic position of Asia now provides Performing Arts compared to Computer Sciences sector, this figure is closer to one- a genuine alternative to these workers, and Information Sciences, despite the third (31.4%). Architectural/Engineering potentially reducing stay-rates of STEM comparable availability of jobs. workers also represent an older workers in the U.S.
  10. 10 | how to find (and keep) stem talentTACTICS TO WEATHER THE STORM. While the shortage of highlyskilled workers is not new, we do know that this talent gap isn’t going away anytimesoon. So, what can employers do to access the STEM talent they need?1. Focus on the work, not the worker growth for STEM workers in traditional engineering fields) approaching retirement, are now enrolled in college programs, soWhen your company needs work to be employment relationships (1.5%). the importance of retaining these skills internships are attracting seasoned workers.done, is your first thought usually to hire becomes paramount. Has your company Make sure you have an internship programsomeone permanently or full-time? The 2. Go virtual put in place a formal program for mature that works and targets the talent that’s right forsupply issues outlined earlier mean that In today’s global economy of innovation, workers looking to work a reduced or flexible your organization. As a first step, it’s a good“owning the talent” may not always be another way to widen the talent net is to go schedule as they transition into retirement? idea to research existing successful internshippossible. Instead of looking at the job to fill, virtual. In this setting, work can be sent to Both men and women defect from STEM programs. The key to the best programs islook at the work that needs to be done and the worker, not the other way around. And careers, but women were far more likely than planning, long before the first intern is hired.consider the growing population of STEM in high-tech industries that rely on STEM men to cite time and family-related issues asfree agents to help. talent, instead of moving the talent, consider 5. Purposefully target women reasons for leaving their career. What flexibleBetween 2009 – 2011: moving the work. This is a philosophical and minorities work options do you offer today? Are they a• The growth of self-employed STEM change for many companies, but one that is It’s clear that women and minorities are differentiator in attracting new workers? workers (3.1%) was nearly twice the rate now being driven by necessity. underrepresented in STEM careers. But of growth for all self-employed workers 4. Re-vamp your internship program employers need to increase their efforts to (1.7%) and five times the rate of overall 3. Look inside and be flexible Internship programs are now occurring engage directly with these growing worker employment (0.6%). Look within your own walls when widening throughout the year, not just over summer, populations. For STEM talent specifically,• The growth of self-employed STEM workers your talent net. With a large number of and an intern role doesn’t have to apply only begin to build your talent community by (3.1%) was more than twice the rate of STEM workers (especially in some key to college-age workers. More mature workers reaching out to professional networking
  11. 11 | how to find (and keep) stem talenttactics to weather the storm / continuedgroups that cater to these candidate pools. 6. Sell your company, not the job understand the demands of your industry 8. Think militaryGroups like: Sell everything your company has to and what skills and experience you The U.S. military produces nearly 400,000• The Society of Hispanic offer potential STEM candidates. Younger need to grow your business so they can new civilian workers annually, making it one Professional Engineers generations, and in particular, women design curricula and job training around of the largest and most valuable sources• The National Society of Black Engineers with a STEM education, are looking for your needs. of skilled talent in the country. In addition• The Association for Women in Computing more meaning and flexibility from their work to having a broad range of technical life. Whatever your employer brand, now To start exposing young students to and professional skills, servicemen andAsk your current female and minority may be the time to take a good look at it STEM careers and careers with your servicewomen often have other importantSTEM workers if they would recommend and fine-tune it if needed to focus on organization, talk to your local schools about qualities like strong leadership and teamworkother women and minorities to your promoting the entire experience. partnering with them to promote STEM skills, a flexible/adaptable approach tocompany. Why or why not? And finally, but careers and education. Your company can dynamic work situations, and a global outlookperhaps most importantly, look to minority 7. Connect with local schools sponsor career events, offer employees to (many speak more than one language). Thesestaffing/recruiting firms to build your The most important thing your organization serve as role models and mentors, conduct reasons make recruiting among the military abench strength of STEM talent. Niche firms can do to drive change is to begin an in-school science labs, or offer on-site great STEM talent acquisition strategy.specializing in minority, women, and disabled ongoing dialogue with local universities, internships and scholarships. There areveterans have unique insight into where and community colleges and high schools. endless ways to brand your company as anhow to find this key talent. Educational institutions need to employer of choice.
  12. 12 | how to find (and keep) stem talentSTEM TALENT GAP— INCREASINGDEMAND AND STAGNANT SUPPLY.Job defection, women and minority underrepresentation, low studentinterest, an aging workforce, and return migration are all contributing totalent supply challenges. For employers, the answer to the STEM talentgap doesn’t rest with a singular initiative, but rather lies in a collection ofstrategies that when implemented holistically, enables organizations toaccess talent when and where it is needed.
  13. 13 | how to find (and keep) stem talentsources• Black Colleges’ Success in STEM, The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 2011• Bureau of Labor Statistics• Concern as Baby-Boomers Prepare for Retirement, Financial Times, March 2010• Education Supports Racial and Ethnic Equality in STEM, U.S. Commerce Department, September 2011• EMSI• EMSI, States with Largest Presence of STEM-Related Jobs, October 2011• Increasing the Number of STEM Graduates: Insights from the U.S. STEM Education & Modeling Project, 2010• Interns Are Latest Target In Battle for Tech Talent, Wall Street Journal, December 2011• National Center for Educational Statistics, Digest of Educational Statistics, 2010• OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard, 2011• Prudential Financial Named to G.I. Jobs Top 100 Military-Friendly Employers List, Wall Street Journal, December 2011• Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine, 2010• Science & Engineering Indicators: National Science Foundation, 2010• Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Occupations: A Visual Essay, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2011• Steady as She Goes? Three Generations of Students Through the Science and Engineering Pipeline, Rutgers, ISIM, October 2009• STEM, Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce• STEM: Good Jobs Now and for the Future, U.S. Department of Commerce, July 2011• The STEM Workforce Challenge, U.S. Department of Labor, April 2007• Top 10 Internships of 2011,• What Top Internship Programs Look Like,, August 2011• Why so few? Women in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics, American Association of University Women (AAUW), February 2010• Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation, U.S. Department of Commerce, August 2011
  14. About the AuthorsTim McAward is vice president, Center of Excellence – Engineering,at Kelly Services, Inc. In this role, he is responsible for branding, marketpositioning, “go to market” strategies and profitability for the productacross North America. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science, Finance degree fromArizona State University and a Master of Business Administration degreefrom St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.Megan M. Raftery is senior manager, Workforce Research andIntelligence, at Kelly Services, Inc. Megan has more than 20 years ofmarketing and human resource-related experience. She is responsible forresearch and business intelligence concerning employment trends, workforcesolutions, and the future of work.About KellyKelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA, KELYB) is a leader in providing workforce solutions.Kelly® offers a comprehensive array of outsourcing and consulting services as well as world-classstaffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire and direct-hire basis. Serving clients around the globe,Kelly provides employment to more than 550,000 employees annually. Revenue in 2011 was$5.6 billion. Visit and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, & Twitter.This information may not be published, broadcast, sold, or otherwise distributed without prior writtenpermission from the authorized party. All trademarks are property of their respective owners.An Equal Opportunity Employer © 2012 Kelly Services, Inc. X105 EXIT